The announcement that Daniel Bryan was retiring took the world by storm on Monday, and it shocked wrestling fans in every corner of the globe. Many found it hard to believe and simply hoped that it was going to be a storyline or a sick joke, but as the day went on, it kept appearing more and more true. Daniel Bryan, retired on Monday Night Raw, and that means it’s time to check out his 10 best matches during his time in WWE.
Daniel Bryan vs. CM Punk – WWE Championship Match: Over the Limit 2012
How could you not like this match? It’s CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship on a Pay-Per-View where they were given plenty of time to work. When it comes to the audience being split, this was a prime example, but this match was a gift to everyone.
Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena – WWE Championship Match: SummerSlam 2013
After the way Daniel Bryan originally came into WWE with the Nexus and then subsequently left for their attack on John Cena, this match was fitting for the list. He made his triumphant return, climbed the ladder, and was in the ring on a huge stage with the face of WWE.
No, it may not have ended in the cleanest of fashions with Triple H as the special guest referee, but that was building to something much bigger. Up until that point though, this match was fantastic.
7-Person Ladder Match – Intercontinental Championship Match: WrestleMania 31
One of the last matches the world would ever see Daniel Bryan before hanging it up and handing over the Intercontinental Title. This match at WrestleMania 31 represented so many amazing wrestling talents and one of the smallest competitors ending standing tall.
It was one of the best multi-person ladder matches in WWE history and every single superstar gave their all. Bryan deserved the Intercontinental Title, but then again, so did everyone who took part in the match.
Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Money In The Bank 2011
It was early on in his career that an almost non-bearded Daniel Bryan with short hair proved his worth to those in the world that never really knew who he was. There were not a lot of people who saw him winning this match and capturing the briefcase, especially with the likes of Wade Barrett, Kane, and Sheamus in it.
The finishing sequence is beautiful to watch as Bryan chokes out Cody Rhodes, destroys Wade Barrett, and then stands tall with the briefcase in his hands.
Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H – WWE Championship Match: WrestleMania XXX
Bryan was injured, as he had often been for the last two years, and this match never should have taken place. It did though, and Bryan wasn’t going to let Triple H get the best of him. With more than half of his upper-body beaten and wrapped up, Daniel Bryan was going to either win or die trying.
He almost ended up dying while winning, and his night was far from over. Not only did Bryan win this amazing match, but he had to wrestle one more time later in the night after picking up the victory, and it was for all the gold.
Team Hell No & The Undertaker vs. The Shield: Monday Night Raw– April 22, 2013
The match took place in London, and the other side of the pond was treated to a real beauty of a match. It ended with Daniel Bryan suffering the pinfall, but that didn’t matter. His amazing suicide dive onto Seth Rollins outside the ring was memorable. The brutality of Kane, The Undertaker, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns — this was perfection and it was on free WWE television, too.
Team Hell No & Ryback vs. The Shield – Tables, Ladders, & Chairs Match: TLC 2012
This was an absolutely brutal match, and one that had all six men take as much punishment as humanly possible. WWE.com made a point that this was the moment in Daniel Bryan‘s WWE career where he was proven to be a brawler as well as an amazing in-ring technician, and he knew it showed.
“I really liked the Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match from 2012. It was fun because it was The Shield’s first match and the tables, ladders, chairs and all that stuff added a certain element to it, an excitement, and people didn’t know what they were going to get out of The Shield. I think it set the precedent for what The Shield would go on to do from then, just having the best matches and stealing the show nearly every night.”
It was in this match that Bryan truly got ready for a long road ahead of him to the top of WWE and capturing the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus – 2-of-3 Falls World Heavyweight Championship Match: Extreme Rules 2012
Speaking of brutality, this was one of the ultimate mismatches and Bryan showed that the Celtic Warrior would get every single thing he had. This was a long, brutal, violent, hard-hitting, technical, and amazing match. Nothing could have been further or more different than the 18-second fluke match at WrestleMania XVIII.
Daniel Bryan vs. Seth Rollins – WWE App Vote Match: Monday Night Raw – June 10, 2013
The fans asked for it, voted for it, and they got it. Yes, it wasn’t the first time in history that Bryan and Rollins had faced off, but this was one of the better bouts. Making matters that much better is that Randy Orton kept Roman Reigns from ruining the match with interference and Bryan won clean.
Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton vs. Batista – WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match: WrestleMania XXX
It may not have been the absolute best of his WWE career, and it may not have been the most brutal or technically sound match, but it did end in the best possible way. Bryan wasn’t even supposed to be at WrestleMania XXX, but here he was in his second match of the night, and the feeling in the air was amazing.
Triple H had been disposed of earlier in the night, but later, he got past Batista and Randy Orton that was met with an ovation to blow the roof off the Superdome in New Orleans. Confetti fell down from everywhere and Bryan held both titles in the air as more than 70,000 screamed out, “YES! YES! YES!”
Daniel Bryan‘s entire wrestling career is something special to behold and something that shall never be forgotten. His time in WWE was cut far too short, as was his magnificent career. Luckily, there is plenty for fans to remember and relive, but his 10 best matches in WWE don’t even begin to scratch the surface of his greatness.
[Image via WWE]